May 21, 2020 10:41 AM

Police: Kan. felon jailed for shooting that left man in critical condition

Posted May 21, 2020 10:41 AM
Dickey photo Shawnee County. He has previous convictions for theft, burglary and criminal threat, according to the Kansas Department of Corrections
Dickey photo Shawnee County. He has previous convictions for theft, burglary and criminal threat, according to the Kansas Department of Corrections

SHAWNEE COUNTY  – Law enforcement authorities are investigating a Wednesday morning shooting in Topeka and have made an arrest.

Just after 2:00 am, the Shawnee County Emergency Communications Center received a call of a possible shooting in the 100 block of NE Coachlight Drive, according to Lt. Matt Danielson.

Officers arrived on scene and located a victim later identified as 47-year-old Royal T. St. Clair of Topeka  in a home that had been shot. Medical personnel arrived and transported him to a local hospital with life threatening injuries.

Police on the scene of the shooting investigation early Wednesday photo courtesy WIBW TV
Police on the scene of the shooting investigation early Wednesday photo courtesy WIBW TV

On Wednesday afternoon, police took a person of interest in the shooting investigation  into custody in the 400 block of SE Rice Road.

After questioning, police arrested  24 year-old Austin J. Dickey on requested charges of  aggravated battery and criminal possession of a firearm by a felon. St. Clair remains in critical but stable condition at an area hospital, according to police spokesperson Gretchen Koenen.

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SHAWNEE COUNTY  – Law enforcement authorities are investigating a Wednesday morning shooting in Topeka.

Just after 2:00 am, the Shawnee County Emergency Communications Center received a call of a possible shooting in the 100 block of NE Coachlight Drive, according to Lt. Matt Danielson.

Officers arrived on scene and located a victim in a home that had been shot. Medical personnel arrived and transported that victim to a local hospital with life threatening injuries.

Police released no additional details including the victim's name.

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May 21, 2020 10:41 AM
Mask use divides Kan. lawmakers as they prepare to convene
Kansas Senate Commerce Committee working last week. Some wore masks and others did not-photo courtesy Senator Susan Wagle

MISSION, Kan. (AP) — Kansas lawmakers appear divided on the importance of wearing masks as they prepare to convene for the final day of the session on Thursday, generating concerns that the gathering could fuel a coronavirus outbreak in the Legislature and further complicate efforts to reopen.

Governor Laura Kelly wore a mask as she arrived at her Tuesday  press conference

Gov. Laura Kelly meanwhile announced Tuesday that Kansas is ready to move on to the next phase of reopening Friday, instead of June 1. The maximum size of mass gatherings will increase from 10 to 15 people, and state-owned casinos can reopen, along with theaters, museums, bowling alleys and other indoor leisure places. Sports tournaments and practices also can resume, with some exceptions. But bars, nightclubs and swimming pools must stay closed for now, and individual communities can approve stricter rules.

The final day of the legislative session is scheduled for Thursday, and that is a cause of disquiet for some. Republican Rep. Don Hineman, a farmer from Dighton, said some lawmakers have attended open-up rallies at which social distancing and other safety protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus weren’t followed, and that they could be carriers who aren’t yet showing symptoms. He said those lawmakers could also be the ones least likely to wear masks in the Legislature Thursday, because in some circles doing so has “become a political issue.”

Lawmakers will mostly watch the session from their offices, only leaving to cast votes in groups and speak. Although masks will be provided and lawmakers are strongly encouraged to wear them, they will not be required, according to an email from House Speaker Ron Ryckman, explaining the protocols for the one-day meeting.

Sen. Dennis Pyle, a conservative Hiawatha Republican, didn’t wear a mask Tuesday for a committee meeting at the Statehouse. He said he doesn’t criticize colleagues for wearing them — most did, some wore gloves — but he questioned how effective they are in blocking the coronavirus.

“I wash may hands and I take care of myself,” he said. “Putting up a chain link fence won’t stop a mosquito.”

But Hineman said the risk then is that people could become infected during the session and take the virus home to their districts.

“That,” he said, “would be a terrible outcome.”″

Hineman said he is 72 and that his wife has heart issues, putting them at increased risk if they catch the virus. About two-thirds of the legislative body is considered vulnerable.

“If I feel it is not safe, I might not stay,” he said. “I think the worst thing is to drop our guard while in Topeka.”

The Legislature began its annual spring break on March 20, about two weeks early, because of the pandemic. The wrap-up session will focus on a variety of issues, including the governor’s power.

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